Practice Makes Perfect: Tips For the Everyday Golfer
Golf is hard. We know, this is no revelation, but it bears repeating. Golf is a hard game and to get better you not only need to practice, but know how to practice correctly.
Going to the range and bashing a bucket of balls with your driver might help let off some steam, but it’s not necessarily the best “practice” for your game.
Instead, try picking targets, using different clubs, shaping shots and working a club or two that gave you trouble during your last round. This kind of practice will do a lot more for your game.
If you really want to improve your game, try practicing like the pros.
Now, not everyone is a “range rat.” Rickie Fowler prefers to do his practicing on the golf course rather than the range. And during weeks off, he mixes practice with a little fun by playing 18 or 36 with some friends.
The average pro spends close to three hours a day working on his swing preparing for a tournament, and about the same amount of time on his short game. But, for those of us who don’t have six or so hours a day to golf (sigh) we have to get the most out of the time we do have.
Try placing a club on the ground and use the shaft to check that your stance line is square to your target line. Practice hitting shots at a target, like you are hitting a real shot on the course, and check your stance every so often to make sure you’re in alignment.
If you’re like us and you worry about hitting balls straight on the range, take a thin stake, like an alignment pole, and place it into the ground about 10 yards in front of you, creating a straight visual line. Practice swing control by hitting the ball to the right of the stake and then to the left of it.
When you practice on the putting green, focus not just on aim but also on mastering the right distance. Lay out three clubs on the putting green at distances of 10, 20 and 30 feet away. Then putt three balls to each distance marker. You’ll be amazed how this will improve your ability to make four- and five-foot putts with ease.
Another good putting drill to make sure you bring the putter face through the impact zone squarely is one Stewart Cink worked on with sports psychologist Morris Pickens. It’s called 2-Ball.
Place two balls side-by-side but not touching. Line up as you would for any putt and put a good putting stroke on both balls, hitting them both simultaneously. You will get great feedback from watching how the two balls take off. If they have the same speed you will know you are doing a good job returning the putter face to the address point.
Practice might not make you perfect, but it will improve your game, especially if you can practice like the pros.